Senate blows hot, orders minister, agency to return N14.3b to treasury
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Senate blows hot, orders minister, agency to return N14.3b to treasury

- The minister of industry, trade and investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, has been ordered by the Senate to immediately return N14.3 billion of the agency’s 2017 budget votes to the treasury

- The acting managing director of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority, Terhemba Nongo, is also included in the directive given to Enelamah

- The Senate has threatened to take a serious legislative action in the event of non-compliance

The minister of industry, trade and investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, and the acting managing director of the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA), Terhemba Nongo, have been ordered by the Senate to immediately return N14.3 billion of the agency’s 2017 budget votes to the treasury.

According to a letter by the chairman of the Senate committee on trade and investment, Mohammed Nakudu Sabo a “serious legislative action” would be taken in the event of non-compliance, The Guardian reports.

There was an allegation that the fund was “hurriedly transferred from NEPZA account into that of a private company called Nigerian Special Economic Zone Company between eighth and 10th of this month despite earlier warnings".

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Legit.ng gathers that Sabo, who claimed that the money was transferred from the agency's account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), was moved out of the account two weeks ago.

He alleged: "To prevent this fraud, my committee wrote a letter to the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele on the eighth of this month not to release the money but very annoyingly, the money is confirmed to have been released and transferred by NEPZA in collaboration with the minister into a private company account.

“This is unacceptable and will not be condoned, hence the need for the money to be returned to the national treasury.”

The committee's letter to the minister read: “Pursuant to Section 80(2)(3) and (4) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Financial Regulation Sections 313 and 314 and the Senate Standing Order 98, 14(a-s) of 2015 (as amended), we hereby write to you on the above matter.

“That you should return the N14.3 billion transferred from NEPZA account to the Nigeria Special Economic Zone Company.

“That the transferred money must be returned to the treasury within one week from the date of receipt of this letter.

“That failure to comply with this directive will be visited with an appropriate legislative action against your ministry as well as the company.”

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Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the Senate reaffirmed its commitment to the non-sale of the National Theatre, Tafawa Balewa Square and other national monuments.

This is sequel to the adoption of the report of its committee on Culture and Tourism at plenary on Thursday, April 25.

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Source: Legit

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